Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No time to blog

Well, we've been busy here. I am fortunate enough to be employed so that I can pick and choose when to work. I generally try to work in double shifts if I can, to minimize the number of trips that I make to Jamestown, and this week, I have picked up two of them. It allows me to spend more time at home getting things done, and I like that. I think Tim appreciates it too.

Having the ability to arrange my schedule gave me an opportunity to really focus on getting two apartments ready for showing, and we were able to get them all rented, and to a good bunch of people. The first time for 100% occupancy.

Since the discovery of the dead mouse decomposing somewhere in the truck, I have also discovered broccoli on the floor of the backseat of the car. It was a humbling experience, yet oddly gratifying, because I was dead certain that I had bought three packages of fresh broccoli when I was making broccoli cheese soup, and by gum, I was right!!! If you did not noticed, decomposing broccoli has a strong smell. (Just one of the little bits of knowledge I offer up to you at no charge.)

In Allentown, Hurricane Sandy got quite awful. Brittani and Dylan were afraid that their windows would blow out in the high winds. Even in Altoona, where Cara lives, there were evacuations, trees down everywhere, power outages and flooding. Here where I live, we discovered that one small boy in footed jammies can wreak way more havoc than the outer edges of any ol' hurricane. His mother had forgotten his bink, and because he is generally too busy to need it during the day here, we did not make the realization until bedtime.

I've been working on a very exciting project with my sister that has taken a lot of my time, and proved to be a wonderful sister-time.

We're going to hear Ken Davis next week with friends, and I am looking forward to that as well.

An issue that has weighed so heavily on my mind for months now seems to be on the verge of resolution, which brings me such happiness I cannot tell you.

Friday is my job interview (9:30 AM), and I'm excited about that as well. My co-worker Tahme was going to get her eyebrows done and convinced me that all that was standing between me and the job is a good eyebrow waxing. I think she just did not want to cry by herself. We went and had an uproariously good time.

It is nice to work in such an environment. I walked away from the last job feeling like quite a loser. I am starting to feel that the problem was not me. Everyone is so excited about my job interview, and it was wonderful to hear that some of them have 'put in a good word for me'.

Life just seems so full and rich lately, and I am feel very lucky to have friends and family like I do. The job has been a blessing. Is it possible for life to be perfect? Because that's sort of what I feel like.

 So that's it, really, a mish mash of what keeps me away from blogging.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I win 'the most disgusting day' award, Novel Woman...

Novel Woman had kind of a sucky day.

I also thought of Bush Babe today. She's documented her battles with the mice at Granite Glen. She had my complete understanding and sympathy. Back when we lived in the woods, every fall, we fought the same battle. We won though, because I don't have any hesitation about using D-Con (your Rat-Sac, BB). I liked to get them dead before they came upstairs, and generally speaking, I was pretty successful, unless you count the time that one died in the wall, and required a portion of wall cut out to remove his decomposing (and stinking) body. Yeah. Tim was pretty peeved.

Anyhow, we don't have that problem in the big city, thank goodness.

So, Tim replaced the gas tank in the truck, using the garage that is behind our house in the woods. This was something that took a couple days. The truck came back home today good as new. Well. Almost. A mouse has gotten in it and died. Unfortunately we cannot find it. We (well, by we, I mean Tim) has given the truck a thorough going over, and has yet to find it.

It was one nasty truck ride, let me tell you. I have a notion that a week from now, it will be decidedly nastier.

I've been thinking this over, and trying to figure out if a stinky dead mouse trumps a pigeon pooping in your purse. If you count the fact that we missed hitting a deer on the way home by a mere foot and a half, well, I do think I've won this round, Novel Woman.

Dang my luck.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

William, Pete, Bob and the big excitement.

I tried. I had the cutest little video of William brushing his teeth. He pulls up his little stool, climbs up and then we go through the toothbrushes in the holder. "Is this William's toothbrush? Nooooo. It is Grandma's. Is this William's toothbrush? Noooooo. It is Grandpa's. Is this William's toothbrush?" (insert his excited babbling and pointing here) "Here it is!!! Here's William's toothbrush!!!"

This is exciting stuff, here, folks. We rinse it under the faucet and put on the toothpaste, and then he brushes his teeth with Grandma. He's become fascinated with the whole spitting process and has begun to imitate spitting into the sink. After he has swallowed the toothpaste, of course.

Cara urged me to get the video, and I thought that I did, but for whatever reason can not down load it. I'm really quite sad about that, but you'll just have to take my word for it. It's the cutest darn thing ever.

I suck at pictures, but I am bound and determined to begin adding pictures of my world to this blog.

 This is Pete, the former owner of Bob. He and his wife came to dinner, and to see Bob up on the wall. We took photographs of the great day. Pete had been hauling Bob around for 30 years, but had never hung him on the wall, because his Linda, a woman of uncommon good sense, would not allow it. After all this time, Pete finally decided that his wife actually meant it, and that is how we came to inherit Bob. Because I am NOT a woman of uncommon good sense, I guess.
Pete and Bob had quite a bull session.

I will close with another bit of exciting news. I got a call today, to interview for a COTA job at my company. I am afraid to get my hopes up. At the same time, I feel like I am on the verge of seeing a big dream come true. I am not sure how I will be able to endure the wait until November 2nd.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet the Moron.

A couple weeks ago, there was an ad in our local paper looking for a personal care assistant. I studied it a bit sceptically, because the pay was more than you'd expect to see for the position. In the end, I applied, attaching a professional resume. I also provided my certification and licensure information.

I never heard anything back and figured that it was not for real.

Yesterday, I did receive a response. The response was from someone who does not speak English as a first language, provided a phony web address for their business. The fictitious name (Conti Fibre) is actually a brand name for a clothing fiber from the UK. They talked about a "mystery" job, telling me that once I provided them with more information about myself they would send me envelopes of cash which I was free to spend over the course of the mystery assignment, no questions asked. The only requirements to this job is that I was to follow the instructions provided with the envelope of cash very carefully.

My heart dropped. I had just provided a professional resume to a scammer. I looked over what I had sent, and was dismayed to note just how much personal information there is on a resume.

The fact is, had I seen this advertisement online, I would have never responded to it. I'd have figured it was a scam right away. But the fact that it was in our local paper meant to me that the people had to provide a name and address, as well as valid credit card information to place the ad.

Turns out that the ad was taken in the classified department of an affiliated newspaper, and was not properly verified. The ad was pulled after running one day, I suppose when the credit card did not process.

I feel that it's important to put some sort of disclaimer out there for others who were taken in by this ad, but the newspaper does not seem to feel that they are responsible, seeing as how the ad was not placed in their office. They did say that law enforcement would be involved at the point of origin, meaning that the investigation would be initiated by the office that took the ad.

I think that their response is disappointing, to be sure.

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, and I can never quite understand how a person gets caught up in scams to begin with, so it is a little mindboggling to find myself in that position.

We got ID theft insurance through the Dave Ramsey show immediately. The only thing we can do is sit back and wait to see what happens next.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The new job has been going quite well. I love our clients, just as I loved the last ones. But the difference is that the new house is fun. I 'fit'. Everyone does their job. Moreover, we have a lot of fun on the job. Last night was karaoke night, and even though our clients are non-verbal, they seem to derive a lot of pleasure out of watching the staff jump around and dance, singing at the top of our lungs.

I have friends. I fit. It's a comfortable place to be.

You know something? I was working with a client. A nurse said, with a laugh, "He's blind." I was a little surprised. "Well, his vision might be impaired, but he sees." Dismissively, she said, "No. He's blind."

Last night I watched him watching the disco lights. He was arched back in his chair to see them. I turned his chair. His head returned to watch the lights. I said to another aide, "You know, they tell me he's blind, but I believe he's seeing something. Watch him." She did, and she was astonished.

She told me to go get a manager. She felt that this was something that a manager should witness. The manager watched him, and she agreed too. He definately has some amount of vision, although he cannot tell us how much.

I love watching our clients and figuring them out.

Last night, I watched a blind man see, and it was very cool.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just in case.

I went to church today for the first time in a long time. A nurse that I work with went with, and we took two clients.

It's been a long time since I went to church, and it meant a lot to me to be there with two of our people. One of them is a hulking big fellow, non-verbal, but he has haunted me since the very first time I interacted with him. I clipped his nails and blabbed away while I rubbed scented lotion into his hands. He watched me as I talked, and when I moved on to another client, his gaze followed me as I moved across the room.

I found myself thinking, "What if?" He cannot talk. His body is stiff and useless. What if, inside that body, there is a brain which works? What if? So I try to spend time with him, talk to him, keep him entertained. I tell him that he is my favorite, just in case. Last night, I put him to bed, and I talked, and when I turned off his light, and I said, gently, "Good night, my friend," and his eyes were white in his dark face, and they were fixed on me in the dim light.

I found myself wondering, once again, "What if?" What if he can feel and think, and is trapped with no way to show the outside world that inside that huge body there is a mind? How would it feel to be that person?

I couldn't help it. I went back to him, for just a few moments, to talk to him in the dark, and to stroke his hair. Just in case.

This morning, he went with us to church, and we had to leave before the final hymn. The nurse said, "He doesn't like to miss the last hymn," and I was a little startled. I wondered again, what was behind his thick glasses? Behind those serious brown eyes? But I saw it, when we loaded him into the wheelchair van. His eyes fixed on me, and he was disappointed. I saw it, and it made me a little sick.

He loves the singing, and when we got home, I pulled the program out of my pocket. I said, "Willie, I have Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday off...I think we should see if we could go to choir rehearsal one of those nights, and you know what? We're not leaving early." His eyes were locked on mine.

I put the program back in my pocket. I will go there on my day off, and I will take him to hear the music. I cannot know what goes on behind his large brown eyes, but we will go. Just in case.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


A Novel Woman had an earthquake the other night. She talked about the big boom in the middle of the night that scared her more than the actual shaking. Half awake, she pondered whether she would be running into the street naked, or...and then she fell asleep.

That woman!!! She's hard to control when she's panic stricken, that's for sure.

I found myself fascinated by that boom. Was it a boom that caused the earth to move? Did she feel the boom or simply hear it? Did they happen simultaneously or did the earth shake, and then there was a boom, or vice versa. We all understand tectonic plates and how they are under pressure and can move suddenly, creating earthquakes, but for the first time, I found myself wondering about the sound these shifting plates would make.

I've heard of the earth making noise before, but never with my own ears. I watched video taken high in the mountains of people standing there scanning the mountains with their video cameras, saying "What IS that?" The same sort of phenomena has occured in big towns, small towns, by the ocean, far inland, on every continent (not sure about Anarctica).  It is all over the world. Google 'earth sounds' and you can hear these noises yourself.

In the furor over Mayan calendars and the end of the world, and such, much has been made of these sounds, but I've a notion that this has been going on for as long as the earth has existed. It is just that now, we are so connected to one another, our stories can be transmitted immediately, and compared immediately. 100 years ago, someone in Yugoslavia had no way to compare his experience with the experience of someone in Winsor, Canada. I think the didgeridoo is the attempt of an ancient people to recreate those earth sounds, much the same as the chants of Tibetian monks or the throat singing of the Inuits.

In discussing the sounds of the earth, Novel Woman has described the humming sound she has heard at her cottage while watching the Northern Lights. That's a sound I can understand, because it just seems to me that the northern lights would be generating a huge amount of electrical energy.

Another person described the spooky noise that a layer of ice makes over a large body of water, moaning and groaning. It quite gave her the creeps. I can understand that, as well, water being fluid and shifting under its mantle of ice, exerting pressure from below, pushing up against the ice, and then receding to well up someplace else.

I think that the most likely explanation for earth sounds, to my limited thinking anyway, is that deep within the earth, plates shift and move and they create pressures sending waves traveling through vast expanses of underground water, or pockets of oil reserves, or the like, generating noise from the earth itself. I can also see that sounds from outer space could be resonating against our planet.

I just think this is so cool.

Other earth-shaking news. I bought a fish. No. I am not talking about the salmon we are having for supper. He's a little blue fish swimming around a very large bowl. You should probably pray for Ka-bluey II. Ka-bluey I (from several years back) ended up slipping down the drain which evoked such an ear piercing scream from me that it brought Tim running from outside. When Tims run, there better be a reason, and he was not happy to find out that I was not being murdered in the bathroom, I assure you.

The fish is mostly for William, because he loves to look at things. I also bought him a star machine which casts rainbow colored stars across the library ceiling and walls where his little crib stands. Can't wait for his next visit!

After years of drinking cappuccino, I've given up the habit. My first cappuccino maker lasted for 13 years. I replaced it with the same brand, which lasted, say, five years. I have had two more Mr. Coffee cappuccino makers. Both of them actually exploded, the first blowing shrapnel all over creation, the second simply made a sound like a gun going off. Two exploding Mr. Coffees in the same year has made me decide that cappuccino is a dangerous thing, and I have switched to plain coffee. This is the first morning, and it was not so awful as I expected. I imagine that I'll live.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

*Face palm*

Well, my sister and I have been working on a project together, and it has been quality bonding time. We went out for Chinese at lunch time and it was a long and pleasant meal. If our mouths were not chewing, they were talking.

I've vowed to be a thin mother of the groom for Dylan and Brittani's 2014 wedding, so I did not eat breakfast, and I skipped supper because I ate a big lunch. But all that Chinese food makes you thirsty, even if you've sipped two glasses of iced tea with your lunch. I made some iced tea when I got home, and sliced some lemon. It was delicious. I had two more large glasses tonight.

Why oh why oh why do I never remember until bedtime that I really shouldn't drink tea in the evening?

Monday, October 8, 2012


Tim and I are two different people.

I left our church, after hearing politics preached from the pulpit. Our pastor believes that Obama is a sign of the end times. He believes that the goal of liberalism is to dilute God's word. Etc.

What am I?

I am a person who believes that in the end, we will all be judged on our own lives. Our own. And this means that I should be worrying about my own life, and whether it is pleasing to God or not. I try hard to avoid condemnation, because your life is not my business. If you sit next to me in a pew, I will not question your right to be there.

It's a personal thing, and so, like I said, after hearing sarcastic and angry rhetoric from the pulpit, I walked out one day, and never went back. Tim goes to that church still. It bothers me that my opinion doesn't count, but I also do not want to stand between him and God. If God puts it in his mind to be somewhere else, I know Tim well enough that he will pick up and go, so I take a deep breath and put my own feelings on the back burner, and remember that I am married to a good man.

Now that the elections are 30 days off, things are getting heated. Rhetoric runs high.

If there is anything I hate, it's rhetoric. Rhetoric is trying to win an argument on emotion not sensible discussion. It's a slam dunk. It's a verbal slap. You don't matter enough for a discussion. The goal is to shut you down and shut you up.

Rhetoric is seen locally: "OBAMA =  Hitler" or "Biden boasts that he and Obama are going to raise taxes for the middle class." Rhetoric cannot be backed up. If you say, 'How are you linking our president with Hitler?' they could not do it. If you say, 'Show me where Biden boasted that he and Obama would raise taxes on the middle class,' there would be nothing to back up their words. That's what rhetoric is. Empty words designed to incite strong emotion.

I hate rhetoric, and I left a church because of it.

Last night, curled up on the couch eating a warm bowl of oatmeal for supper and watching the news, I said, "Have you decided who you're voting for yet?"

Tim answered, shortly, "Yes."

The curtness of his reply shocked me. I looked over at him. "We can't talk?"

He said, "I'm surely not voting for Obama," and the rudeness of his voice raised prickles of warning.

I said, "Really?" a bit surprised. Romney is such an elitest that it frightens me. So out of touch with the middle class, let alone the needs of the poor. On the same token, I am quick to say that I believe that there needs to be social reform, that there are people taking advantage of programs, collecting money that they shouldn't be entitled to, but I see Romney's off the cuff remark about 'the 47%' as a deal breaker. You cannot write off nearly half of all Americans before you are even elected to office.

Tim looked at me, flatly. I said, "...he's just so fake, like an actor putting on a..."

Tim snapped, "Your Obama is the fake!"

There was no point in continuing. He didn't want to discuss anything. He wanted me to shut up. I hate rhetoric, and there it was coming from the other end of my couch.

It was a quiet night. I didn't know what to say. Tim has always been a quiet person. He only discusses what he wants to discuss. We've been married for nearly 15 years, and I understand that, but this really bothered me, that we couldn't look at each other, see that we are good people with our own opinions, and discuss them.

Last night when I went to bed, I dreamt of a two headed snake. Tim had it, and I was attempting to control my fear of snakes as I watched it. Yet when I turned my back to go get a mason jar, I felt it hit the back of my neck, and the cold writhing of it woke me with a jolt.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Got a tremendous amount of work done today. All my laundry. All my ironing. I've got some socks to match.

I'm stoked.

The sad thing? No sarcasm in this post at all.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Putting Summer Away.

It's an early fall here. It's been dark and overcast, damp and chilly.

We have two large maple trees in the back yard both of them surely over 100 years old, and one of the things that I love to do is watch the wind catch the trees and the leaves fall in a colorful swirl. It really is beautiful to see.

I've been watching this for a couple weeks now, and it never fails to make me stop and smile a little, to watch this blizzard of leaves from these trees.

Except that those leaves eventually hit the ground, and they swirl no more. They blanket the yard and something needs to be done. We cannot burn leaves in the city, so we've spent the day raking, and we have a pile of leaves the length of our house, probably three feet high, maybe 5 feet in depth that the city will come along and suck up this week, hauling them to be mulched.

I pulled 30 solar lights, stuck pieces of cardboard between the contact and the battery so that they can be stored and pulled out again this spring. I've washed them all, remembering how pleased we were when we first put them out last spring, how we sat watching them in the dark. I put them away so that they are ready to take our breath away next spring.

I'll pull the big urns from the portico into the garden room outside the back door underneath the steps to the second floor balcony, and hope that the geraniums make it through the winter. (I've never been able to bring geraniums through the winter, so suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.)

I'll store the hanging baskets inside the basement.

Bring in the sundial. The birdbaths.

For all of its beauty, fall is a little sad too.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


You know, I really do think that I live in a pretty nice little corner of the world, but lately, it does seem that terrible things are happening right here, right at my front door even. (And no, we never did find out what the hoopla was that had police everywhere...)

One story that actually frightened me was about a beloved horse that had been sprayed with accelerant and set afire in his own pasture. What kind of sadistic mind does something like this? Who ever did this surely built up to this terrible deed by acts of increasing cruelty, and I'm certain that the cruelty will not stop at this horrible act. In fact, I read about two goats shot dead in their own pasture this morning's newspaper.

I hope they catch someone. I surely hope they catch this bastard.

The story of the poor horse has been amazing though. People have rallied in a wonderful way, and the horse is a magnificent creature with a strong spirit. The first picture is graphic, but you cannot help but be thrilled at his steady recovery. Read about Northstar here. Pass it along if you are inclined.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Light Show

William came last night, late, to spend the night. It was a bit of a disruption for him, and he was quite wide awake, which was unfortunate, since his grandparents were quite ready for bed. We played for a while, quiet things. I handed him a flashlight, and began to shut off the lights in the house. He was quite excited about this, and chattered all the way to the livingroom. Once those lights were off, he sat down on his fuzzy blanket and began to shoot beams of light across the ceiling and down the walls. I watched him, contentedly, and dozed off myself. I wolk up and saw him flat on his back, sound asleep, clutching his flashlight. I tucked him into bed.

It was really a magical time in the dark.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Yellow House

There is a developmentally disabled girl who came to her job site filled with excitement. She was moving, and she was going to live in a yellow house. None of her caregivers understood what this was all about. She wasn't moving. But she was so excited, and she was so adamant, and she kept talking about the yellow house.

Someone remembered back when her parents had died. She dealt with the loss of her parents by deciding that they had gone to a truly wondrous place called heaven, and although no one had talked about "In my Father's house, there are many mansions," she seemed to understand it somehow anyway. She told everyone that Jesus had built her parents a beautiful yellow house, and that they were together in heaven, living in their brand new yellow house.

The whispering began. 'You don't suppose that she's talking about THAT yellow house?' It couldn't be, not really, but it was kind of a startling coincidence, hey?

Except that within a few weeks, our friend was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, an untreatable cancer, one that I personally had never heard of before.

She's gone now. Just that quick, she was gone, but she was so excited to be going, that really, it was hard to be sad about it. She wanted desperately to go to heaven and live with her parents once again, all of them happy in the beautiful yellow house that Jesus had built with his own two hands.

This is what I know: this girl was profoundly disabled, but God drew close to her. I knew this girl personally, and this is why I believe that my work allows me to come in close contact with His holiness every single day. In each one of these individuals, I see God at work.